Two recent university graduates have come across a way of helping seniors who sometimes struggle with technology and high school students who need to put in their mandatory volunteer hours. It’s called Student Helpers and its first project is been a hotline where seniors can call to get answers to their tech questions from student volunteers. Seniors have sought help from topics ranging from how to set up Zoom, change their iPhone settings and even learn how to Facetime with friends and family.
Student Helpers co-founder Matt McCoy says the Pandemic showed how dependent everyone is on technology. “We noted our parent and grandparents had tech issues,” he told the Bay Observer, “kids and grandkids became the go-to IT experts.” We thought it would be a great think if people could just call a number to get help.”
“While daily life has been shifting to more of a remote environment, including Zoom, seniors have been feeling left out. This has led to significant isolation amongst seniors. Technology would help them connect to loves ones, however many seniors do not know how to use basic online platforms include Facebook and Zoom.”
So far Student Helpers has signed up over 150 student volunteers and Matt says they can handle more calls than they are currently getting, which in the early going is a couple of calls a day. The support offered is strictly remote “to keep it safe for everyone,” says Matt, who operates the hotline with fellow grad Alex Ryzer’
There is no charge for the service. People looking for assistance will be asked for their first name only and their phone number.
For people needing tech assistance, the toll free hotline is 1-833-989-8255
While the tec line is free, Matt and Alex are also developing a for-profit start up where students would perform household chores for residents—things like lawn mowing, snow removal and light garden work. For more information on that service, visit www.localstudent.com.